Monday, 5 July 2010

Beer Blogging

The new Wikio list is out and Pete Brown, who announced the results, has written a response to his previous question about whether " beer blogging has become boring and (sic) introspective". Some good points being made by him and others, but to me nagging doubts remain about where beer blogging is going. The lack of comments from non bloggers indicates to me that there is something amiss. If all we get is a (declining) number of comments from ourselves, we are doing something wrong are we not?

I have posted in the past about the influence of "professionals" in blogging as well as the insidious effect Twitter has on the amount of comments received, but what do others think? I have devised a little poll -well two actually. You can answer "yes" to more than one question. To make things clearer it would be helpful if you could do the other poll in conjunction with it, then we can see if there is a grain of truth to my suspicion that we are beginning to speak to ourselves in the main.

Have a go at it.

(By the way, when are these guys at Wikio going to change it to "Beer and Wine" rather than Wine and Beer? It is clearly obvious the wine is "also ran" in this context)

26 comments:

Rabidbarfly said...

Typical though that the month I get into the top 20 for Wilkio not to have put them live yet!
Agreed on the title though, it should be Beer and Wine Rankings not Wine and Beer!

Paul Garrard said...

Is beer blogging a movement?
Does it have to be going anywhere?
Is there to much blogging about beer blogging?
In my opinion the answers are no, no and possibly.

I think some people take themselves far too seriously (and no that’s directed at anyone in particular).
I have a suspicion that the vast majority of beer blogs are read by beer bloggers, I can’t prove that but you do see the same names appearing in the comments section on blogs time and again, including my own (that’s blog and name).

I blog mainly for my own amazement but it also acts as a useful aide-mémoire. Yes I want non-beer bloggers to read it and if I could influence a casual or non beer drinker into trying real ale then I’d be most happy. I don’t lose any sleep about whether my blog is read by 3 or 3000 people and I don’t worry about the Wikio rankings. I’m registered with them in the hope that it will bring in the odd reader or two. I’m languishing where I am because of my popularity, the change of location and the change of feed address for my blog. Compared with the scale of human suffering on this planet beer blogging doesn’t really matter much at all. It is only beer blogging.
If I ever join the ranks of the guilded beer writers I shall consider I have failed. I like the amateur nature of it. I consider myself the beer equivalent of The Desperate Bicycles!

Sid Boggle said...

Those Wikio numbers are weird. My blog rose 30 places on traffic that is just about average for me.

Since I've hardly written about beer in the last month, maybe it's Sidie fans or angry England supporters...

Cooking Lager said...

I see beer blogging as one of many ways people express their enthusiasm for something they love. Occasionally it is exciting and inspiring, occasionally boring but it's really not about wikio. It's about whether those writing or reading are enjoying themselves.

Montague said...

You wanna bring back the war Rudy? Things were at least exciting back then.

Tandleman said...

Nah. We've been there, done that.

Leigh said...

Agree with Cookie on this one. I know this argument keeps popping up, but what Brown's got to remember is that some people just like talking about beer - with other people who like talking about beer. Yeah, the pro's have an upper hand - in terms of spare time to work on stuff, visits and 'inside' knowledge, but that's thier niche. I still maintain that blogs arethe best way to find out about beer. Really, I do. What's more - I *trust* the opinions of the people in 'my blogosphere' (and yes, that includes your good self!)

Mark said...

The scale of your poll is completely black or white - either super-positive or very negative. The only one vaguely in the middle is the 'passing five minutes'. Hardly a fair set of answers. It's also riddled with negative opinion - 'Overblown egos', 'clique', 'inevitable decline'. Not exactly a fair and representative poll, if you ask me, whatever the results.

Martyn Cornell said...

Those Wikio numbers are weird. My blog rose 30 places on traffic that is just about average for me.

They measure links, not traffic, Sid, so a few more people have been linking to you.

The wine bloggers may be in a minority, but the top wine blog on Wikio's list still gets a lot more traffic than the top beer blog, according to Alexa.

ZakAvery said...

I think it's what you make it, and what people make of it. Some are historians, some raconteurs, some stream-of-consciousness writers and some are smart arses. It's like any arena of blogging - some of it is worth reading, other bits not. It's not run it's course because people are still ejoying blgging, and (to a greater or lesser extent) people are enjoying reading it.

I started blogging (as opposed to maintaining a website) to engage in the dialogue about beer. Sometimes I wish I hadn't bothered, and other times it's life affirming.

You could draw parallels between the current malaise and Tuckman's stages of group development, if you wanted to get totally corporate nonsense about it. But then I'd have to charge you £250 for consultancy. Plus expenses.

Tandleman said...

Mark - Well it wasn't done with that intent. It was done - partly at least - to try and attract non bloggers to answer the questions - and partly to take Pete's concerns a little further. It covers many of the points that have been made (not just by me)since Pete raised the subject.I think you may be making the mistake of being inside looking out and thinking "shit that's aimed at me". It isn't. I was trying to construct it from the outside looking in, but we are all likely to skew it when we ask questions and frankly I did want to provoke a little discussion, hence some of the terms used, but I'd have thought there is enough to go at for most. Almost every poll on blogs is a bit dodgy, but since the results won't change anything, does that matter so much? If you really want a non pejorative poll go to MORI. This is the blogosphere, I'm no scientist and life isn't fair. I found that out today when my gas boiler went tits up, leaving me thousands out of pocket and feeling a bit tetchy.

Zak - I more or less agree with all that you say except I'd have charged more than £250, especially now I have a new boiler to pay for.(-;

granata said...

As a new blogger this year I think it's great and have learnt so much from you lot. Me and pals have gone from brown beer (Holt's) / cider / Marble guzzlers to mildly-knowledgeable real ale enthusiasts. Maybe hits/visits should be used by blogs to judge popularity rather than comments?

John Clarke said...

I must say I have very mixed feelings about the beer blogosphere. Some blogs are very entertaining and some genuinely informative. On too many though their authors do give the impression that they forget what they are voicing are just their own opinions rather than immutable facts.

Too much also gives the impression of being an inward looking and rather self satisfield little clique who big each other up and comment on each others blogs. This is reinforced by the Wikio rankings of the most "influental" blogs, wheere the degree of "influence" is not determined by how many people actually read these blogs (which in many cases is bugger all people in any event) but how many links they get from fellow bloggers. Just how incestuous is that? It also makes the claims of "influence" pretty hollow I think.

Then of course there are the crazies...

Bailey said...

I don't think bloggers necessarily sit somewhere between ordinary people and professional writers: in many cases, they *are* ordinary people who just happen to be in the habit of sharing what they think with the world. It's easy to set up a blog and readers often become bloggers themselves. After all, most beer bloggers know nothing that their readers don't know, or can't find out. (Ron P and Martyn Cornell are two exceptions that spring to mind, but they're professional writers.)

So, we shouldn't agonise over it. Most blogs on whatever subject (apart from a handful of superstars) are read largely by other bloggers. Blogging is a social rather than broadcast medium. Interlinking between blogs is part of the point, and good manners -- not cliqueness!

If you want an audience outside bloggers, I would guess the readers who would most appreciate what you do are currently avid readers of A5 printed CAMRA newsletters. I'm not sure how you get their attention, but you ought to try.

Tandleman said...

I agree with some of this, but not all. I think in a subject like beer, reaching out is as important as socialising.

As for CAMRA newsletters, I am the editor of one, but to promote my blog in it wouldn't be right, though I will be doing a newsletter article on beer blogging soon - funnily enough a lot of beer drinkers don't know about it - or maybe will ask someone else to do it.

Lastly, I actually get quite a lot of attention from non bloggers, or so my comments would indicate, but in any event I was following Pete Brown's lead in this.

Velky Al said...

On the Twitter issue, I am not convinced that it is beer blogging is being overtaken by Twitter, though clearly it is being affected.

While I do have a Twitter account for Fuggled, I use it largely as a tool for informing people about things related to the website, and the occasional comment on other things. However, I have no ambition to sit around tweeting about the beer that I drinking at the moment - as someone who does most of my drinking in the pub, I can't think of anything ruder than being with mates and tweeting about my pint. I also fail to see the point in tweeting en masse from a pub, it appears to be a mere affectation of socialability rather than actually being thus.

The biggest effect of Twitter on blogging is in the number of comments a post gets. While my most commented threads have all been since I got a Twitter account, there has been a general downward trend.

John Clarke said...

Of course, the best CAMRA newletters are A4 :-)

RedNev said...

There's Granata, as a new blogger, so pleased that blogs have given him a greater enjoyment of beer, and no one else seems to have noticed, all sunk in a Pete Brown-induced introspection about the meaning of blogs, the universe and everything. That's really going to get the non-bloggers reading, isn't it?

Blogging about blogging: recipe for utter tedium.

Well, Granata, welcome to Blogland ~ I hope it continues to be as interesting, once they all stop navel gazing and getting back to what they do well ... most of them anyway.

Barm said...

I write about stuff that I'm interested in and care about, and if other people are interested too, great. I wouldn't know where to start "reaching out" to people. I suspect if there is reaching out to be done, it's better done in meatspace.

Tandleman said...

Well I read Granata's Pubs of Manchester regularly if that lets me off your hook a little?

No harm in a little light introspection RedNew. The results of the poll show some interesting things.

Barm. WTF is "meatspace?"

John Clarke said...

Per Wikipedia:

"Meatspace refers to real life or the physical world, and is conceived as the opposite of cyberspace or virtuality"

Tandleman said...

Huh! Meatheads more like. (-:

Anonymous said...

Non-blogger here that reads your blog, Pattinson's, and a few others on a regular basis and enjoys them as well as picks up a few interesting tidbits here and there. I kind of wish Jeffrey Bell would blog again as it was one of my favorites. Hey, I wouldn't know where to get good beer in Rome (visiting in October) without him. Good work and please just keep blogging.

Mark

granata said...

Thanks RedNev, and cheers Tandleman, once we've done town we're going to expand, literally, might even pay a visit to the THT.

"I write about stuff that I'm interested in and care about, and if other people are interested too, great" - exactly, Barm, that's all blogging is, isn't it - not needily worrying about who's top of some arbitrary table.

Curmudgeon said...

If you're concerned about a lack of comments, just make a post about the smoking ban :p

Barm said...

granata: I think one advantage bloggers have is that we're not chasing readers like commercial publications are, so we don't have to be concerned with what our (notional) readers want to see, or what we imagine that they might want to see.